Deutsch LA’s Pete Favat Discusses Making Ads and What Keeps Him Up at Night

Also, the career he’d have if not advertising


Who Pete Favat

Age 52

New gig Chief creative officer, Deutsch LA

Old gig CCO, Arnold

How has your perception of your new employer changed in the past few years?

The thing I always loved about Deutsch is how much of a design group they had, how much brand experience they had and how much reliance on strategy they [had]. And I always thought they were really, really competitive players. So after they won Volkswagen—whenever somebody wins Volkswagen, like when Arnold won Volkswagen—it completely changes the agency. You turn the corner. When Deutsch won Volkswagen, it’s like, these guys are legit. They’re really big players now.

What will be the biggest adjustment in living and working in L.A.?

My biggest fear was missing the Boston Bruins, Red Sox and Patriots games. And [Deutsch LA integrated production chief] Vic Palumbo, who’s from Boston, said, “But you get NESN out here. Don’t worry about it. You get all the TV stations.” Jeff Goodby has been giving me crap about it because he knows I love the Red Sox and the Patriots.

You once said that the day never ends and that the hardest thing to do is to turn that off. Still feel that way?

Oh, yeah. And that’s what I’m most excited about. Yes, it’s a 24-hour job—at least that’s the way I look at it—and now I’m getting to do it with all new people. I’ve got to meet with 450 brand-new people who I’ve never worked with before, 20 new clients I’ve never worked with before. There’s something to that, the energy that’s involved. It’s kind of like your first day of school.

What ad did you see recently that made you think, “I wish I had done that?”

The Chipotle spot is interesting, [but] I don’t like it nearly as much as the first one.

How come?

The first one just had a clearer message of what they were standing for. This one, I just didn’t feel it as much as I felt the first one. But that’s so hard to beat. That first one, I still watch it and I get chills.

What gets you excited?

Making things. And that’s not just advertising. I make furniture. I just made this awesome light out of old gas pipe fittings. If I weren’t in advertising, I’d be a builder or definitely a carpenter.

Who has had the most influence on your career?

I grew up wanting to do more work like Lee Clow. And I’ve never even met the guy. It’s funny. Maybe I will now that I’m in his hood. Lee’s work throughout my whole youth, my growing up in the business, was outstanding to me. It looked like so much fun.

An ad guy once called Lee Clow the Neil Young of advertising.

[Laughs] It’s pretty true, and I love Neil Young. So that makes a whole lot of sense. Kind of looks like him too.

What do you hate about our industry?

People who are constantly trying to water things down. I always equate it to, if you put too much water into that whiskey, it’s just going to turn into water, you know?

What keeps you awake at night?

Royally fucking up. Like just doing something really stupid because I have the capacity to do that.

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